Why Investors Care
STRIPS is an acronym for Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities. A normal Treasury note or bond consists of a principal payment and semiannual interest payments. For example, a 30-year Treasury bond for $1,000 consists of 60 interest payments--one every six months for 30 years--and a principal payment of $1,000 when the bond matures. If this bond gets stripped of its interest (coupon) payments, it becomes a "zero-coupon" bond. The owner doesn't get paid any interest but buys the right to repayment of principal, $1,000, at a deep discount to the face value. Investors buy these to guarantee a certain payment amount at a specific point in the future (e.g. when a child will be ready for college), but don't want income from the bonds over that period.